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September 3, 2002 | 1500 IST

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SA players refuse to sign contract

South Africa's players and administrators were at loggerheads on Monday over the International Cricket Council's controversial marketing contract for the Champions Trophy.

Tony Irish, chief executive of the South African Cricketers' Association, was quoted on South African television as saying the players remained unhappy with the contracts and would not sign them. Irish was not immediately available for comment.

Late on Monday, the United Cricket Board (UCB) was also unwilling to budge on the issue which has overshadowed the build-up to the tournament which starts in Sri Lanka on September 12.

"The United Cricket Board (UCB) has given an undertaking to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that our strongest squad will represent South Africa at the Champions Trophy, and our strongest squad leaves for Sri Lanka on Sunday," UCB communications director Bronwyn Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said Irish would meet UCB chief executive Gerald Majola in Cape Town on Tuesday to try and resolve the issue.

The ICC contract stops players from endorsing products of rival companies to official ICC sponsors 30 days either side of its events and contains a provision which allows official sponsors to use player images for up to six months.

Most participating boards have reached agreement with their players, and earlier indications were that the South Africans would follow suit after an ICC meeting in Dubai at the weekend.

But India's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sourav Ganguly, currently preparing for the fourth Test in England, have so far refused to sign, raising the possibility that the Board of Control for Cricket in India will send a second string squad to the Champions Trophy.

India's players said on Monday that they would not sign the contract unless the BCCI assured them that certain "unacceptable" terms would be deleted.

The ICC contract controversy - the complete coverage

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